IBA Moore and Byers Islands

Posted February 3, 2000 | Categories : 103,23,Issues,Marine Reserves,Oil Spill Threat,Research,Species List |

IBA Moore and Byers Islands and Banks
Bella Bella, British Columbia
Site Summary
BC106 Latitude
52.568° N
129.34° W
0 – 60 m
799.44 km²
coniferous forest (temperate), coastal sand dunes & beaches, inlets/coastal features (marine), coastal cliffs/rocky shores (marine), other
Land Use:
Not Utilized (Natural Area)
Potential or ongoing Threats:
Disturbance, Oil slicks
IBA Criteria: Globally Significant: Congregatory Species, Colonial Waterbirds/Seabird Concentrations, Nationally Significant: Congregatory Species
Conservation status: Ecological Reserve (provincial)



Seven species of seabirds breed in significant numbers on Moore and Byers Island. Of the 12 total islands that support seabirds in the site, the majority of the birds breed on seven islands. Surveys conducted in 1988 reported 30,040 pairs of Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels and 20,505 pairs of Leachs Storm-Petrels. These numbers represent 1% of the global Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel population and about 4% of the eastern Pacific Leachs Storm-Petrel population that is found in Canada. The surveys also recorded a total of 79 pairs of American Black Oystercatchers breeding on all 12 islands within the site. This represents 1.5% of the worlds population.Three species of alcids nest on the islands in significant numbers. The most abundant of these is the Rhinoceros Auklet, with 91,640 pairs surveyed in 1988 (7% of the total world population). Counts of 22,730 Cassins Auklet pairs were recorded in the same year. The last alcid, Pigeon Guillemot, breeds in nationally significant numbers. In 1988, 604 birds or approximately 6% of the Canadian population were surveyed. Finally, 889 pairs of Glaucous-winged Gull breed here – this is over 3% of the national population.

Other birds recorded at the site include Peregrine Falcon (subspecies pealei, a nationally vulnerable bird), Bald Eagle, Tufted and Horned puffin, Sooty and Short-tailed shearwater, White-winged Scoter, Harlequin Duck, Marbled Murrelet, three species of cormorants, and a variety of shorebirds.


Summary of bird records available for Moore and Byers Islands and Banks
Click here to view all records
Species Season Number Unit Date
Bald Eagle BR
Black Oystercatcher BR 79 G P 1988
Brandt’s Cormorant RE
California Gull OT
Cassin’s Auklet BR 22,730 G P 1988
Double-crested Cormorant RE
Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel BR 30,040 G P 1988
Glaucous-winged Gull BR 889 N P 1988
Harlequin Duck (Western) OT
Horned Puffin BR
Leach’s Storm-Petrel (E. Pacific) BR 20,505 G P 1988
Marbled Murrelet OT
Pelagic Cormorant RE
Peregrine Falcon (pealei) BR 5 N P 1995
Pigeon Guillemot SU 604 N I 1988
Rhinoceros Auklet BR 91,640 G P 1988
Short-tailed Shearwater OT
Sooty Shearwater OT
Tufted Puffin BR
White-winged Scoter OT
Note: species shown in bold indicate that their population level (as estimated by the maximum number) exceeds at least one of the IBA thresholds (national, continental or global). The site may still not qualify for that level of IBA if the maximum number reflects an exceptional or historical occurence.
Conservation IssuesConservation Issues

The main potential threats to these islands are from oil spills and other environmental contamination. The area is quite remote so disturbance from boaters is not a great concern. However, increased desire on the part of the adventure tourism industry to reach beyond the normal destinations could result in disturbance in the future.Two British Columbia Ecological Reserves protect parts of the IBA. Ecological Reserve #23 encompasses South Moore Island, McKenney and Whitmore Islands, while reserve #103 protects Byers, Conroy, Harvey and Sinnett Islands. The boundaries of E.R. #103 includes some of the surrounding marine areas.